CHANGZHOU, China (AP) — Australia backed into the Women’s Champions Trophy final against the Netherlands after surprisingly losing to Japan 3-1 on Saturday.
The Hockeyroos’ nerves were then jangling when China had a chance to make the field hockey final but lost to the Dutch 2-1.
The Australians will meet the Netherlands in the final on Sunday, five days after the Dutch crushed them 3-0. Both teams will be going for a record-tying seventh title. Their last match was in the Women’s World Cup semifinals in July, when the Netherlands won in a shootout.
Japan hadn’t won a match in the round robin, but started fast against Australia with goals to Yuri Nagai in the third minute and Yukari Mano on a counterattack. Minami Shimizu scored off a deflection to start the second half, and Australia finally unlocked the Japan defense through newcomer Penny Squibb from a penalty corner in the 54th.
China then needed a draw or win, be the first team to take points from the Netherlands. But Maxime Kerstholt scored the only goal of the first half.